Perseverance Post #2: Sports Injury Recovery and Its Unique Challenges

Continuing with our #perseveranceposts series, started earlier this month with Sarah’s injury recovery story, we thought it was time to share another’s unique injury recovery experience.

We hope that you enjoy reading Peyton’s interview about her experience with sports injury recovery, gain some perspective about injury recovery, and maybe even learn some new ways to motivate yourself and manage your recovery!

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Peyton, and I’m currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh.  I will be a sophomore this upcoming fall and study marketing. I played lacrosse for a majority of my life. I began playing in fifth grade, and continued until my senior year of high school.

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Please share your injury story.

During my freshman year of high school, it was the heart of lacrosse season and I began to have intense pains in both of my calves. I wasn’t sure what the pain was. I tried treatment such as compression socks, KT tape, customized shoes, and new types of stretching, but nothing helped. Eventually I met with my orthopedic surgeon, and he suggested that I get tested for compartment syndrome.

It turns out I had compartment syndrome in both of my legs. One way to relieve myself of the pressure in my legs was to have surgery, a fasciotomy. Late August, I had a bilateral fasciotomy to relieve the pressure in my muscles that was causing me so much pain. After the surgery, I went to physical therapy for three months. I had a lacrosse tournament in November that I wanted to be recovered for. I worked hard and was fully recovered and able to play in the tournament.

Unfortunately, only after two games, I took a bad turn, heard an awful pop, and fell to the ground. I went to the emergency room and was told that I tore my MCL. I left the tournament early, and a week later I got an MRI and met with my orthopedic surgeon yet again. Not only did I tear my MCL, I also tore my ACL. Two weeks later, I had patellar tendon ACL reconstruction surgery on my right knee, and was back at physical therapy.

This injury would take a lot longer than three months. I was expected to be out of lacrosse for at least seven months. I was unable to play that upcoming season, but worked hard and eventually recovered fully. I now am fully recovered from both injuries, and have no pain in either of my legs. I can again enjoy playing sports and do a lot of physical activity with no interference. The only evidence of injury is a couple of scars!

What types of things did you do for recovery?

For the compartment syndrome, surgery was not necessary. During a normal day of activities, I would only have slight pain in my claves, but any athletic activity would cause the pain to get much worse. I decided to have the bilateral fasciotomy so I could continue my lacrosse career and other sports. For the ACL injury, I did not have many options besides getting the surgery. I decided to do the patellar tendon ACL reconstruction over the hamstring ACL reconstruction.

What have you found to be most helpful during your recovery?

Physical therapy definitely helped me the most throughout my recovery process. The physical therapy center I went to, Revolution Physical Therapy, also doubled as a sports strengthening and training center. I enjoyed being in this kind of environment because many patients at this facility also had sports related injuries. Because I was there so often I formed bonds with many of the physical therapists, and felt very comfortable and independent. I got so close to one therapist, that I now babysit his kids!

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What has been the worst part of being injured for you?

I was extremely disappointed to have to sit out of lacrosse season my sophomore year of high school, but my injury even made everyday tasks more difficult. Navigating around high school on crutches in the winter was especially difficult for me.

Are there any unexpected positives that have come out of your injury or injury recovery process?

One positive that actually came from these injuries was that I am now able to provide support and advice to other people with the same injuries. I like to help people with these types of injuries stay positive and let them know recovery may seem like it will be a long process, but if they put in the effort, they will be back on the field in no time.

What is your top tip for people recovering from physical pain or injuries?

Push yourself to the limit, but stay healthy. I wanted to recover in the shortest amount of time possible, so I would sometimes work myself too hard or do my exercises too quickly. I grew impatient and wanted to recover faster. I eventually realized that I needed to work hard, but not rush myself through the process. I was straining myself and was not giving my body time to heal. I realized throughout the recovery process that I needed to recover in a healthy and safe way, and accept that it would take time for my body to heal.

What is your top tip for staying motivated to recover?

When it came to staying motivated, I just looked to the future. At times I got tired of going to physical therapy and wanted to slack off, but I kept going because I had things I wanted to be recovered for in the future. I looked forward to summer activities, traveling, and playing lacrosse again, and wanted to experience those without crutches or a giant brace on my knee.

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What did you do to stay optimistic about your injury recovery?

In order to stay positive, I surrounded myself with people who gave me constant support. Although I couldn’t play on the lacrosse team my sophomore year, I took statistics for the team and traveled with them to every game so I could still be around my teammates.

 

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Visit http://www.tiyagahealth.com to see how we are helping to improve injury recovery.  

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DISCLAIMER: We strive to create Content that would be of interest and value to individuals recovering from pain and injury.  The founder of this Site is not a licensed medical professional.  Use of the Site or any content on the site, including but not limited to text, software, scripts, code, designs, graphics, photos, sounds, music, videos and all other content (“Content”) is not a substitute for working with a licensed medical professional.   The information on this site is not intended to assess or diagnose health conditions and is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed physician.  All individuals should consult a licensed medical professional prior to starting any exercise or movement program.   The Content of this website is intended for individual education and information purposes only.

Information, exercises, and all other Content provided on the Site are not be taken as medical advice.   The information provided is not intended to diagnose or treat or to be used as an alternative to medical advice.  All individuals are urged to consult a licensed healthcare professional before starting any exercise or movement program, including the exercises that are listed on the Site.

 

Wellness Wednesday: How to Stay Emotionally Well During Injury Recovery.

We opened our Wellness Wednesday series last week with an overview of the Six Dimensions of Wellness, and how that model can be applied to injury recovery.  We received some feedback that a deeper dive into each category – physical, emotional, occupational, social, intellectual, and spiritual – would be valuable.

So, today we look at Emotional Wellness, and how to stay emotionally well during injury recovery / while you are managing pain.

What is Emotional Wellness

Being emotionally well, according Hettler’s model, means that you can recognize and accept whatever feelings you are having at a given time or on a given day.  It does not mean you must be happy all the time.  Instead, being emotionally well means that you can recognize when you are maybe depressed, lonely, or energetic and manage those emotions in a positive way.

Being emotionally well means you recognize emotions and manage them in a positive way.

How does the concept of emotional wellness apply to injury recovery and pain management?

Knowing from my own experiences, being injured and in pain often triggers a mix of emotions – sadness, despair, motivation, excitement – many times all within the same day or same hour.  This mix and constant change of emotion makes it hard to consistently manage each emotion and respond effectively.

What are some ways to help you deal with this challenge?  Here are some tips and tricks that I learned along the way as I was recovering from injuries.

Keep Track of Your Emotions. Whether through a care journal, a diary, or a mobile app, keep track of how you are feeling day-to-day.  Naming emotions helps to acknowledge how you are feeling, allows you to look back at your progress, and ultimately has a motivational effect as well.

Share How You are Feeling with Others. Do you have a friend you can discuss your recovery with or a supportive community?  Or maybe finding a mental health professional to speak with would be helpful.  I always found that finding some way to share what I was feeling or what I was going through helped me better understand those feelings and figure out a way to move forward.  You may not always have the answers, but speaking your emotions out loud does help

Think Optimistically.  Even on the worst days try to find something to be optimistic about, even if is is just one or two moments everyday.  Try to find a moment or a time where you can say to yourself, “I am happy” or “I am content” and celebrate that moment.  Maybe it is a small win for your recovery, like bending your knee or walking to the kitchen, or maybe your dog or child did something funny, or even something on TV that made you laugh.

Let us know if these ideas work for you and if you have something that has worked that isn’t listed here please share it!

Wishing you a pain-free and fast recovery!

The Tiyaga Health Team | http://www.tiyagahealth.com |@tiyagahealth on instagram & Twitter

 

Perseverance Post, Issue #1: Finding Motivation to Get Back on the Horse

Here at Tiyaga Health our goal is to support everyone on their road to injury recovery and part of that support comes from offering tips and tricks to the recovery process. What better way to do so than by sharing the stories and experiences of real people who have struggled with injuries themselves?

We hope you can use these #perseveranceposts as a way to learn from the wisdom of others and maybe find new ways to motivate yourself and manage your recovery.  And to help remember you are not alone in your struggles!

 

We hope you enjoy our wonderful, first interviewee, Sarah. We have highlighted some of the most inspiring lessons.

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Please introduce yourself.

Hi! I’m a sophomore in college, studying Computer Science. My favorite things include iced coffee, waterfalls, kayaking, and Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets. In my spare time, you can probably find me taking a power nap, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, or in the student section at a football/basketball game

Please share your injury story.

I was in a horseback riding accident right before my sophomore year of high school. When my horse took off bucking for about 30 seconds, I unfortunately stayed on and suffered immediate pain in my lower back from the jarring of his actions. The doctors weren’t able to diagnose me with one particular thing, but rather just chronic lower back pain due to nerve damage. Thankfully, my pain has gotten a lot better since the incident, but I still have to work at managing it every day

What types of things did you do for recovery?

Over the past four years or so, I have tried SO many different things to try and help my pain – some definitely a bigger success than others. I’ve had two different surgeries: a nerve block and an epidural. Both made my pain worse due to the sensitivity of my back, so we considered options besides surgery. I went through a lot, lot, lot of Physical Therapy! In addition, I also tried Hydrotherapy (basically PT in the pool), Craniosacral Therapy (sort of like a massage), Yoga (specifically Iyengar Yoga – it was more focused on healing than your normal hot yoga class that many people enjoy), and I also did some Hippotherapy (not with real live hippo’s, it’s a form of PT on horseback). Because of the nerve damage and sensitivity of my back, I did a lot of desensitization to help decrease pain when something touched my back. We tried a few different home remedies, like ice, heat, and KT Tape. I was also on a variety of different medicines.

What have you found to be most helpful during your recovery?

cropped-kaboompics_grey-sport-shoes.jpgThe most successful combination for me was a mix of Physical Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, and knowing my body and my limits. I’m not in PT anymore, but I try to incorporate a lot of the exercises I learned into my workouts at the gym. Staying active and keeping my back and core muscles strong have really helped my pain. That goes hand in hand with knowing my body, however. When my injury and pain were really bad at the beginning, a lot of all I did was just lay in bed and rest, which actually kind of made my pain worse. Now, I try to be pretty active (which isn’t too hard in college, given that some of my classes were a 25 minute walk away), but I have to be careful to not push myself too hard, because I’ve also found it’s really easy to “relapse” into more pain when I’ve done too much and not taken any time to rest! Its all about balancing your activity, managing your pain, and doing what works best for you. 

It’s all about balancing your activity, managing your pain, and doing what works best for you.

Are there any unexpected positives that have come out of your injury or injury recovery process?

I was forced to pay attention to my body and how I was treating it. I also learned to really, really love to take naps.

What is your top tip for people recovering from physical pain or injuries? 

For anyone who is a student, I know that it can be really hard to be around your peers constantly who are healthy. At the beginning of my injury, I couldn’t even stay at school for more than half of a day, which not only was hard to explain to my friends, but made it hard for me to keep up in classes. But, my high school was excellent about offering accommodations, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It made it easier knowing that my teachers knew what I was going through and were flexible if I had to miss class or a test and would help me catch up! The same goes for in college. I reached out to our support center for those with disabilities, and they were able to provide me with similar accommodations to high school. Don’t be afraid to seek out help and take advantage of it because it can help SO much as a student!

Don’t be afraid to seek out help and take advantage of it…! 

What is your top tip for staying motivated to recover?

I think because of the nature of my injury, I was constantly motivated to recover so that I wasn’t in as much pain constantly. I just wanted to be “normal” again. I was lucky to find a great team of doctors who were always coming up with new ideas to help my recovery. When I started to see even just small improvements, it encouraged me to keep working harder because being in less pain was worth it!

When I started to see even just small improvements, it encouraged me to keep working harder because being in less pain was worth it!

What did you do to stay optimistic about your injury recovery? 

I honestly struggled with this. I’d be lying if I said I was optimistic from the start. However, I had a great support system of my parents and my closest friends who pushed me to become more optimistic. They’re probably the reason I’ve gotten to the point in my recovery where I am today.

cropped-logo-11.pngvisit http://www.tiyagahealth.com to see how we are helping to improve injury recovery.  

 

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DISCLAIMER: We strive to create Content that would be of interest and value to individuals recovering from pain and injury.  The founder of this Site is not a licensed medical professional.  Use of the Site or any content on the site, including but not limited to text, software, scripts, code, designs, graphics, photos, sounds, music, videos and all other content (“Content”) is not a substitute for working with a licensed medical professional.   The information on this site is not intended to assess or diagnose health conditions and is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed physician.  All individuals should consult a licensed medical professional prior to starting any exercise or movement program.   The Content of this website is intended for individual education and information purposes only.

Information, exercises, and all other Content provided on the Site are not be taken as medical advice.   The information provided is not intended to diagnose or treat or to be used as an alternative to medical advice.  All individuals are urged to consult a licensed healthcare professional before starting any exercise or movement program, including the exercises that are listed on the Site.

What Tools do Patients Need to Optimize Injury Recovery?

A report by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons notes that 1 in 2 Americans (~127 million people) are affected by a musculoskeletal condition – conditions and injuries affecting the bones, joints and muscles. This large patient population necessitates a growing provider network that is supported by many new tech-based solutions. These advancements are undoubtedly improving patient treatment and patient experience; however, since these products are being built for providers, are the voices and needs of patients truly being heard and addressed by these new tools?

Likely, the answer is no. Patients still suffer from many physical and mental challenges during their recovery process. To combat these problems and further improve the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, the role of mental health, behavioral change, and self-management must be further explored and implemented.  Patients must be empowered with tools that encourage motivation and positivity, and that help them stay on top of their treatment plan; and those tools need to be available electronically.

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Written by: Rachel Soper Sanders, CEO & Founder at Tiyaga Health